Pep Guardiola's squad is gearing up for their second continental title pursuit, having recently secured Champions League success. However, even the efforts of Jose Mourinho were insufficient to break Sevilla's stranglehold on the Europa League crown in the 2022-23 season. For Manchester City, under the guidance of experienced Champions League winner Guardiola, domestic trophies have been a regular achievement. Yet, prior to the 2022-23 campaign, European triumphs had eluded them. This changed with the addition of Erling Haaland, whose twelve goals shattered Champions League records and, along with an unexpected contribution from Rodri, led to a breakthrough victory over Inter Milan.
Despite being the holders of the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup, Manchester City's summer was not inaugurated with another trophy, as they succumbed to Arsenal in a Community Shield penalty shootout. Nonetheless, they've commenced their Premier League journey with gusto.
Erling Haaland made an impactful return to the Premier League, netting two goals in the first half against Burnley, much to the delight of fantasy football enthusiasts. A commanding strike from Rodri secured a straightforward 3-0 victory over Burnley, managed by Vincent Kompany.
Their inaugural appearance in the UEFA Super Cup arrives three days ahead of a Premier League encounter against fellow Champions League participants Newcastle United. While Sevilla struggled domestically in the previous season, their prowess in European competition remains unquestionable. Transitioning under the management of Julen Lopetegui proved challenging, and the Jorge Sampaoli experiment faltered rapidly, leaving Sevilla as low as 19th in La Liga by mid-January.
However, the appointment of Jose Luis Mendilibar steadied the ship. He guided Sevilla to a 12th-placed finish in La Liga while orchestrating a record-extending seventh Europa League triumph in Budapest.
Sevilla's showdown with a Roma team led by cup final specialist Mourinho embodied the meeting of an unstoppable force and an immovable object. Sevilla's penalty expertise prevailed, though the post-game treatment of referee Anthony Taylor garnered significant attention.
Having clinched six Europa League titles before their Hungarian victory, Sevilla has also contested six UEFA Super Cup clashes. They emerged victorious in their debut appearance in 2006 against Barcelona, but subsequently lost five consecutive continental curtain-raisers.
Mendilibar's side also suffered a 2-1 defeat to a struggling Valencia in their 2023-24 La Liga opener on Friday. Their record against Manchester City is a dismal four losses from four matches, even though their pair of defeats to the Citizens in last year's Champions League group stage - where they finished third - ironically contributed to their success in the second-tier competition.
INJURIES & SUSPENSIONSKevin De Bruyne's unfortunate streak of bad luck continues this summer. Following a severe hamstring injury in the Champions League final, the Belgian playmaker lasted only 23 minutes against Burnley before a recurrence of his previous issue flared up.
Guardiola admitted that his creative force would be absent for "an extended period" as the medical team delves into the root of his problem. De Bruyne finds himself in the company of Ruben Dias (head) and John Stones (hip) in the infirmary. Both Dias and Stones might have slim chances of making an appearance against Newcastle.
De Bruyne's absence might pave the way for Mateo Kovacic to step into the starting lineup. His Croatia teammate Josko Gvardiol could also receive an opportunity for his full debut as Guardiola inevitably adjusts his tactics.
Sevilla, fortunately, did not lose any more players to injury during Friday evening's match. However, Loic Bade received a red card and had to leave the field, leaving Mendilibar's side with ten men for the final 10 minutes against Valencia. Bade, the French defender, will be available to take the field in Piraeus.
The same cannot be said for two of Bade's fellow center-backs. Tanguy Nianzou is expected to sit out due to a hamstring injury suffered earlier this month. Marcao, who is dealing with a quadriceps injury, is yet to fully participate in training.
Although first-choice goalkeeper Yassine Bounou has been linked with a move to Real Madrid as a potential replacement for the injured Thibaut Courtois, recent developments suggest that Los Blancos will sign Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan from Chelsea instead. Therefore, it seems Bounou will remain with Los Palanganas and stand as the final defensive barrier on Wednesday.
POSSIBLE LINE-UPS Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ortega; Walker, Akanji, Gvardiol, Ake; Rodri, Kovacic; Silva, Alvarez, Grealish; Haaland
Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Navas, Gudelj, Bade, Acuna; Jordan, Fernando, Rakitic; Suso, En-Nesyri, Ocampos
Manchester City 3-1 Sevilla
Despite the likelihood of making several alterations due to their Premier League obligations, Manchester City should have cultivated a hunger for European triumph. Guardiola's squad appears poised to secure their second UEFA title within a mere two months, potentially preserving a clean sheet in the process.